MY BEST FRIEND

Here’s a book to make best friends with—but be careful on those sleepovers.

An owl and a mouse are really close friends—kind of.

Mouse and Giant Owl have lived together ever since Giant Owl caught Mouse—er, brought Mouse to the tree, where Giant Owl is generous with the doughnuts. The thing is, while Mouse appreciates the friendship, some alone time would occasionally be nice, yet Giant Owl seems always to be around. Mouse reasons this is “because Giant Owl loves me so much.” It must be why Giant Owl gives great birthday gifts like a house (read: cage) equipped with its own lock, whose key Giant Owl carefully holds onto. Then, after a sleepover, Mouse wakes up in an unidentifiable, dark, round space. Giant Owl’s nowhere to be seen—by Mouse, that is. However, hilarious illustrations show readers exactly where Giant Owl is and what’s going on. Giant Owl’s on a branch, battling severe dyspepsia and making wretched gastrointestinal noises before letting out an otherworldly belch (printed in oversized type that takes up a page). As a result, Mouse blasts out of Giant Owl’s roiling innards and, still clueless, thanks Giant Owl for the rescue. This riotous tale is truly a hoot, owl or no. The wittily dry narration, simply expressed in Mouse’s sweetly naïve voice, is comically adorable, and the colorful, very expressive mixed-media illustrations serve the rollicking shenanigans perfectly.

Here’s a book to make best friends with—but be careful on those sleepovers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4834-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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BEAR FINDS EGGS

From the Bear Books series

Cheery fun that will leave series fans “egg”-static.

In his latest outing, Bear and his pals go in search of eggs.

Bear “lumbers with his friends through the Strawberry Vale.” Raven finds a nest; climbing up, “The bear finds eggs!”: a refrain that appears throughout. Instead of eating the robin’s eggs, however, Bear leaves a gift of dried berries in the nest for the “soon-to-be-chicks.” Next, the friends find 10 mallard eggs (as bright blue as the robin’s), and Bear leaves sunflower seeds. Then the wail of Mama Meadowlark, whose bright yellow undercarriage strikes a warm golden note, leads them to promise to find her lost eggs. With his friends’ assistance, Bear finds one, and they decide to paint them “so they aren’t lost again.” Another is discovered, painted, and placed in Hare’s basket. After hours of persistent searching, Bear suddenly spots the remaining two eggs “in a small patch of clover.” Before they can return these eggs, the chicks hatch and rejoin their mother. Back at his lair, Bear, with his troupe, is visited by all 17 chicks and the robin, mallard, and meadowlark moms: “And the bear finds friends!” Though this sweet spring tale centers on finding and painting eggs, it makes no overt references to Easter. The soft green and blue acrylics, predictable rhymes, and rolling rhythm make this series installment another low-key natural read-aloud.

Cheery fun that will leave series fans “egg”-static. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2024

ISBN: 9781665936552

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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